Griffin girls respond to player’s plea in win

KATELYN HIBBARD/Sun-Gazette Sarah Parrish of Sullivan County defends Shelly Floyd of St. John Neumann Friday night at Neumann.

By CHRIS MASSE

cmasse@sungazette.com

As Shayna McNamee’s off-balance, buzzer-beating 3-pointer fell through and gave Neumann a 1-point lead, the Knights’ crowd rose and roared.

Sarah Parrish seethed. The Sullivan County center is part of one of the best teams in program history, but never before had won at Neumann. So she gave her team a message and then changed history.

Parrish dominated the fourth quarter, scoring seven of her points and the Griffins came together to play a super quarter and rally past the Knights, 40-31 Friday at the Terry Gramling Gymnasium.

“Sarah Parrish just looked at them and said I’m tired of losing to this team here,” Sullivan coach Shannon Pietroski said. “This is our game and I’m not going home a loser. That propelled all of them. They really responded to Sarah.”

They have ever since she started her elementary career at Sullivan. Parrish has been at the heart of the team’s big success the last two seasons and helped Sullivan (18-3, 13-0) capture the Mid-Penn championship Tuesday. Neumann (12-8, 8-4) slowed Parrish down throughout the first half, but she would not be denied in the second, scoring 12 of her 19 points and grabbing nearly all of her seven rebounds. A Parrish putback answered McNamee’s 3-pointer and she helped put Sullivan up to stay.

Parrish then helped seal the win, taking a pretty pass from Bethany Weinhardt (9 rebounds) and converting a 3-point play that made it 37-29.

“I said on the bench they are going to go out ripping and ready to win. That 3-pointer put them over the edge. The whole gym screamed and they are going to feed off that,” Parrish said. “That’s one of our big things is keeping calm and holding our composure. I’m really proud everybody did hold their composure and played smart.”

Sullivan suffered a devastating blow last month when leading scorer Kaiti Beinlich tore her ACL for a second time. But instead of wilting the Griffins have rallied around Beinlich and different players continue making key contributions.

That was evident Friday as freshman Jessica King was tremendous inside during the second half and grabbed six rebounds. Stef Kramer had 12 points and seven rebounds, sophomore Alexis Randall had five rebounds, Ashley Faus made five steals and Weinhardt hit three straight foul shots to clinch the win in the final 30 seconds.

“Beth stepped up when we needed her and hit a couple of nail in the coffins at the end,” Pietroski said. “She gets it done when it truly matters.”

“Everybody stepped up and played well,” Parrish said. “Coach P told us you guys have to get the intensity together and that’s what we did in that fourth quarter.”

They needed to in order to deny Neumann a sixth straight win. The young Knights held leads throughout the first three quarters, played good defense and pushed Sullivan to the limit for the second time in four weeks. Sullivan likely will be the top seed in District 4 Class so while not satisfied with losses, Neumann knows it remains dangerous.

“It’s part of the growing process,” Neumann coach Junior Parrish said. “We’re in our home stretch and I feel really good about where we’re headed.”

Shelly Floyd and Shayna McNamee both had strong games and continued their quality seasons. Floyd scored 13 points, grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds and blocked six shots. McNamee scored a team-high 14 points and added six rebounds and four steals.

“Shelly and Shayna continue to bring everything that they can to the game,” Junior Parrish said. “They bring an aggressive attitudes of, ‘we’re going to do what we have to do to win games. They really bring it every game.”

SULLIVAN (40)

Sarah Parrish 4 10-11 18, Ashley Faus 2 1-2 5, Stef Kramer 5 1-2 12, Bethany Weinhardt 0 3-11 3, Alexis Randall 0 0-0 0, Leah Beinlich 0 0-0 0, Jessica King 1 0-2 2. Totals 12 15-28 40.

NEUMANN (31)

Shayna McNamee 3 7-8 14, Shelly Floyd 5 3-6 13, Gabby Lisi 0 0-0 0, Abby Henderson 1 2-2 4, Mikayla Plocinski 0 0-0 0, Morgan Kriner 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 12-16 31.

Sullivan 10 4 11 15–40

Neumann 10 6 12 3–31

3-pointers: Sullivan 1 (Kramer); Neumann 1 (McNamee).

Records: Sullivan 18-3, 13-0 Mid-Penn. Neumann 12-8, 8-4.

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